The Nevada Wolfpack (7-5) battle the Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-4) on Saturday afternoon in the 2018 Arizona Bowl from Tucson. Kickoff is set for 1:15 PM EST on Saturday, December 29th at Arizona Stadium. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the full list of college bowl betting odds, the matchup is currently listed as a pick’em. The total for the game is sitting at 59.5 points.
Arizona Bowl Vegas Odds Preview: Nevada vs Arkansas State
Arkansas State won their fourth consecutive game their last time out, crushing Texas State 33-7 on the road to finish the regular season at 8-4 overall. The Red Wolves needed a strong finish to clinch a spot in a bowl game after a mediocre 4-4 start to the year. QB Justice Hansen had an extremely impressive season, passing for 3,172 yards and 27 touchdowns while also adding 396 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Hansen really clicked well with WR Kirk Merritt, who led the team with 75 receptions for 939 yards and seven touchdowns. RB Marcel Murry led the way on the ground for Arkansas State, rushing for 793 yards and six touchdowns on 137 carries. RB Warren Wand also had a solid year, racking up 652 yards and four touchdowns on 123 carries. As a whole, the offense averaged 31.8 points per game (45th overall) on 464.8 total yards.
The Red Wolves were slightly above average on the defensive side of the ball during the regular season, allowing opponents to score 26.4 points per game (59th overall).
Nevada won four out of their last five games during the regular season to clinch a bowl birth after a disappointing 3-4 start to the year. The Wolfpack locked up their spot in this game in November, crushing Colorado State 49-10 at home before winning their seventh game of the season 21-12 on the road in San Jose State. QB Ty Gangi had a big year, throwing for 3,131 yards and 23 touchdowns while adding three more scores on the ground. WR McLane Mannix lead the team in receiving touchdowns, hauling in 50 receptions for 875 yards and seven scores. However, after the team lost to UNLV in late November to close out their schedule, Mannix announced he would be transferring away from the school and has since signed on with Texas Tech. He will certainly be missed on offense, as he was clearly the top option in the passing game. On the ground, QB Toa Taua led the way with 156 carries for 816 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Overall, Nevada averaged 32.3 points per game (41st overall) during the regular season.
The Wolfpack didn’t play all that well on defense for much of the season, giving up 28.1 points per game to opponents (77th overall).
2018 Arizona Bowl Free Betting Pick & Predictions: Arkansas State PK
The loss of McLane Mannix will certainly be tough for Nevada to overcome in this particular spot, as both of these programs are extremely evenly matched. Losing arguably your top playmaker on offense is never easy to deal with, especially since the Wolfpack haven’t had any games to adjust to life without him since Mannix announced he was transferring after the final week of the regular season. While some might argue that his absence is already priced into the current line, I think that the Red Wolves are still the better value play. Not only did they have a better overall record, they also gave up 1.5 points less per game defensively while scoring basically the same amount of points per game as Nevada (0.5 points per game less).
Click on the link for more free college bowl picks from our experts on staff.
Arkansas State is a very solid 5-1 ATS over their last six games overall. They also had won more win (and one fewer loss) than Nevada did during the regular season. The Wolfpack are also only 2-4 ATS in their last six games away from Mackay Stadium.
This game should stay close throughout, which is why the loss of such a huge playmaker on offense may haunt Nevada in this matchup. I’m going to take the Red Wolves in what should be a highly entertaining game on Saturday afternoon – give me Arkansas State, as I think they will ultimately emerge victorious in the 2018 Arizona Bowl.